My Dearest Mad-Readers,
Today, I would like to speak about my favorite Japanese anime. Since there are quite a few of them, I cannot publish only one single blog post and will certainly have to write a sequel. You will notice they globally belong to similar genres : fantasy, fantastic, science-fiction, and K-On will probably stand out as the only rather realistic exception.
I promised a friend I would watch it several years ago, which I finally did, about two weeks past. This is proof I always honor my promises, although it might exceptionally take some time (but it’s not a problem since we all are very forgiving people here, right?). If you have some spare time, this anime is rather long. There are two seasons of more than twenty episodes.
I must say however, that this anime has bested most of all the others I have ever watched. I grew immensely attached to its characters and especially to Koro sensei. As a certified teacher, I loved his pedagogy, his passion, his faith in his students, how he helped them grow, and his ever-unfailing motivation leading him on a daily basis to get them to the top. I do not want to spoil this anime to you, so I will pass on the juicy details and not tell you how it deeply inspired and moved me.
I will however share with you its basic story line. It is about a class of middle-schoolers in Japan which have been assigned the mission of killing their teacher, a monster which has threatened to destroy the planet by the end of the year. This one sentence should suffice to get you to download it or look it up on Netflix and begin watching. Hence I shall say no more.
Sword Art Online (SAO)
This one anime is even longer than Assassination Classroom, but I must mention it. It belongs within my top 5 favorite Japanese anime, hence it deserves a place near the top of this list. If you are wondering, I have not ordered this list with my top 1, 2, 3… No, this merely is an unordered list of anime I enjoyed more than all others (and might have watched several times, like Sword Art Online).
There are three seasons and each one is divided into two arcs. The first two are twenty-four episodes strong (so twelve episodes for the first arc, and another twelve for the second) ; the third season is (astonishingly) much longer, since there are twice twenty-four episodes. This means two things :
- Twice the fun.
- It seriously drags on. If you have watched it, you must see what I mean.
There also is a movie called Ordinal Scale, which I recommend you watch before the third season, especially if you like respecting chronological orders.
Regarding the story line : It is quite simple, but you are not watching it for the complexity of its plot anyway. It is about a teenager, Kirigaya Kazuto (also known as Kirito), who ends up locked within a Virtual Reality MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) called Aincrad, along with thousands of other people. Together, they have to complete the one hundred floors of the castle of Aincrad. Only then will they be released from the game. They must be careful nonetheless, for dying in the game is lethal in the real world too…
Steins Gate & Steins Gate 0
It appears this article is barely getting started… Alright! The third anime I would advise you to check out is about time travel. It is adapted from a visual novel of the same name which I definitely intend to read (whenever I can make enough time to do it). Some of you people will probably consider me a heretic for watching the anime before reading the book (‘visual novel’, to be terminologically exact), and you would be right. It is a crime, which I have committed so many times I no longer am ashamed of it.
How is it for you ? Do you absolutely have to read the book first or can a movie make you want to read the book ? Or both ? (Comments below (please)!)
Story line : Okabe Rintarou, a young man seeing himself as a mad scientist accidentally discovers that he can alter the course of time by sending messages into the past. He must then enter a terrible race against time itself and face its complexity in order to save his friend. To win, there only is one way : he must reach another time line, which he himself named the Steins Gate.
There are many seasons for that anime. It is also inspired from a visual novel which contains several paths depending on the choices you make, which explains why it has been adapted several times with :
- Fate Stay Night
- Fate Zero
- Fate Unlimited Blade Works
- Fate Heavens Feel
- Fate Grand Order
- Fate Apocrypha
- Carnival Phantasm
- Many others which I will not cite here since they are not necessarily worth your time.
I used a bold font for the ones I have already seen. I would not recommend Heavens Feel, since I did not enjoy it. It is rather dark and the fights are not as spectacular as in Stay Night, Zero, or Unlimited Blade Works. It is also orbiting around Sakura, which normally is not the character people are the most interested in (at least not me). My favorite must be Unlimited Blade Works, since it is centered around Shirou and there are some real epic combats in it.
The story line : Seven mages must summon Seven servants to fight to the death in what is called the Holy Grail War.
If you haven’t seen it, it is not too late to fix this unforgivable mistake!
Finally something shorter for people enjoying short anime! If you have read down until this point, you must be relieved! There only is one season and thirteen episodes. It is almost too short, but it actually ends perfectly. I strongly recommend it.
The story line : A great many teenagers who have not yet reached puberty happen to have a flawed super power. A group of school kids chase them to prevent them to act as wrongly as the main character does in the first episode.
It is the story of four (at the beginning, and then 5) Japanese school girls and how they grow with their music band named K-On. Simply put, it is excellent. There is nothing really special about it but it is fun, you grow attached to the characters, and their songs are rather catchy. It counts among my top favorites, which in itself may explain why it is worth watching without me saying much more…
Be ready for a good laugh, but also for a lot of tears. This thirteen-episode anime is as short as Charlotte and was made by the same company. If you enjoyed Charlotte, this one should be a perfect match for you too. Don’t wait and enter a world in which already-dead high-school students have to fight Angel, or they will disappear…
If you wish to watch amazing combat scenes for two seasons (with a decent plot) and then find out that the third season has not yet been announced after years of waiting, this anime is for you. I hope you can handle the frustration, because I still am desperately hoping to get a publication date (that is nowhere near at the moment).
If you want to know more, I recommend this article. It has a nice summary and might give you hope for a 2021 release. Do not get too psyched though, you might end up disappointed big time.
No Game No Life
A brother and his sister who both are extremely talented at playing games (of all types) enter a fantasy world in which everything is centered around board games. Together, they challenge the God of games, Tet, in order to become the next rulers of that world.
It is a lot of fun but, like the previous anime I presented, be ready to wait for a sequel, because season 2 is still nowhere to be found. However, a film called No Game No Life Zero was released in 2017. It may not be enough, but it should quench your thirst for content for a few days more…
This one is rather similar to Sword Art Online (or is it the other way around?), so I will not develop my explanations too much. It is two seasons of about twenty-five episodes long, and it is awesome. If the idea is the same as in SAO, it is also much more complex. There is an actual scenario, everything does not merely orbit around fights and an over-cheated main character called Kirito-bis.
You should watch it. It will rock your world, full stop.
Question Time & Sign-Off
Have you ever watched one of these anime? Are you into Japanese anime? Do you prefer American TV shows, movies, just reading books? Do you have any recommendations? Tell me in the comments!
I am still working on a Gentoo Installation Guide. I am about halfway through and should be able to publish by Friday along with some YouTube videos (because I intend to do the whole thing in a virtual machine and then break it down into several fifteen-minute videos). I hope you are looking forward to it!
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Do stay safe in such dark times,